Crop damage effects to spread beyond farms

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Farm Forum

Severe weather that damaged crops in northeast South Dakota on July 17 will have an effect beyond farmers’ fields.

High wind and hail were the culprits, whipping across the region and, in some cases, wiping out plants on entire parcels of land.

Damaged crops, along with the damage to buildings and homes, will put the area in a financial strain, one insurance agent said.

Mike Frederick is co-owner and an agent for Breske Crop Insurance in Webster. He said that crop damage ranged from virtually nothing to extensive depending on the area and type of crop.

Although crop insurance does help, the economic impact will be felt by those in the area — even those who are not farmers.

“Crop insurance, like any other insurance, has a big deductible,” said Frederick.

“So if you take a 100 percent coverage policy of the crop, you still have to pay the 30 percent deductible. Well, everybody’s profit lies within the top 30 percent, and that’s what’s spent on Main Street. That’s when they buy equipment or this and that, and that’s when everybody feels the economic stimulus. “We’re a very rural-driven economy,” he said.

“This stuff didn’t start so much in Brown County. From what I’m hearing, it is Britton that got beat up pretty bad,” Frederick said. “Different areas are affected differently. Small grains and wheat are pretty much toast. They’re definitely the most damaged with no chance of coming back. Some of the soybeans were damaged. Corn is a little hardier of plant. There’s a lot that will come back, but the damage sets it back, so we’re going to want a long, dry fall so we don’t have small, wet corn.”

Craig Schaunaman, executive director for Farm Service Agency in South Dakota, added that “Brown and McPherson only had some general hail damage, but we’re still waiting on the storm report for Day County.”

Day County Emergency Management Director Wes Williams said the storm damage follows U.S. Highway 12 from Andover to Waubay.

“They said south of Andover, a lot of crops are pretty much all done and gone,” Williams said. “The Bristol area is about the same thing. What I saw Saturday night in the Bristol area, the corn stalks were 1 to 2 feet tall with nothing on them. Soybeans are pretty much the same way. Now, they’re just kind of spindly, tiny, scrawny stalks standing up there. I didn’t really see anything for small grain, but in a few places the small grain is lodging, and it’s a bugger to pick up.”

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